Sunday, September 23rd marked the 60th anniversary of Richard Nixon's political game-changing "Checkers speech," and today, September 24th at 10 a.m. tickets go on sale for the Vineyard Theatre's world-premiere production of CHECKERS, a play by Douglas McGrath about Nixon, his wife Pat and that historic speech. CHECKERS is directed by Terry Kinney. Preview performances begin at The Vineyard (108 E. 15 St.) on October 12; October 31 is opening night. Tickets can be purchased by calling The Vineyard box office at 212 353 0303 or online at www.vineyardtheatre.org.
The cast of CHECKERS will include Kelly Coffield Park, Kathryn Erbe (as Pat Nixon), Joel Marsh Garland, Anthony LaPaglia (as Richard Nixon) , Kevin O'Rourke, John Ottavino, Mark Shanahan, Lewis J. Stadlen and Robert Stanton.
Mr. McGrath's play CHECKERS is described, as follows: It’s 1952. A young Richard Nixon is campaigning as his party’s candidate for Vice-President, his wife Pat proudly at his side, when an accusation of financial impropriety almost ends his promising career. In a momentous speech, he takes charge of his fate, and changes the character of American politics forever. CHECKERS is a revelatory look at Nixon’s drive, history and most surprisingly, his marriage to Pat – all of which are explored with insight, blistering wit and unexpected tenderness. A stunning new play from Academy Award nominee Douglas McGrath, whose film credits include EMMA, INFAMOUS and BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. Directed by Terry Kinney (REASONS TO BE PRETTY, AFTER ASHLEY).
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the "Checkers speech" -- delivered before a national television audience on September 23, 1952 -- Chuck Todd on his "The Daily Rundown" program on MSNBC-TV on September 20, 2012 remarked that the speech "helped re-shape modern politics and usher in the era of TV as the vehicle for political messaging…by one man who would one day change the face of Presidential politics for good," going on to note how the effects of Nixon's speech are reflected in the 2012 Presidential race.
David Lagesse wrote in U.S. News & World Report in 2008, "That TV address not only saved Nixon's career and vice presidential candidacy, it also launched American politics on a path that still guides it today. Nixon sensed the power of TV to shape a politician's image and how image would shape politics."
Anthony LaPaglia most recently starred as Tito Merelli in the Stanley Tucci directed revival of Ken Ludwig's farce LEND ME A TENOR at the Music Box Theatre. Theatre credits include: THE GUYS, BOUNCERS, NORTHEAST LOCAL, ON THE OPEN ROAD, THE ROSE TATTOO and A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, which earned him Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his portrayal of Eddie Carbone in 1998. TV credits include: 7-year run on "Without A Trace" (Golden Globe Award) "Frasier" (Emmy Award for recurring role of "Simon Moon"), and "Murder One". Films include: LANTANA, BETSY'S WEDDING, EMPIRE RECORDS, SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER, THE HOUSE OF MIRTH, SWEET AND LOWDOWN, THE CLIENT, 29TH STREET, ONE GOOD COP, COMPANY MAN, SUMMER OF SAM, AUTUMN IN NEW YORK, THE SALTON SEA, HAPPY FEET, LANSKY, PHOENIX, COMMANDMENTS, BRILLIANT LIES, WINTER SOLSTICE, THE BANK, THE ARCHITECT and most recently, BALIBO, for which he proudly earned his second Best Actor AFI Award. In 2011 Anthony starred in P.J. Hogan's MENTAL alongside Liev Schreiber and Toni Collette. In 2012, Anthony starred in the Julian Assange bio pic, UNDERGROUND.